For financial advisers, beating the competition means adopting smarter, more informed and more consistent marketing.
Competition for financial planners, insurance brokers and mortgage brokers has never been fiercer. At the same time, regulation has never been tighter. So how can you market your business in the face of these challenges? The answer is to be smarter and more consistent in your marketing than any of your competition.
If I were to direct your marketing temporarily, here are the fundamental steps I would take to transform your client acquisition process.
Create a profile of your ideal client
In any market, at any one time, just 3 per cent of clients are in buying mode. While most marketing goes towards trying to win this small segment, it makes more sense to invest in converting some of the other 97 per cent into buying mode.
Firstly, determine your ideal client. Figure out where 80 per cent of your revenue is coming from and build a profile of your ideal client around this. For example, if you’re after a long-term relationship, your ideal client might be a highly paid, young professional looking to start a self-managed super fund because this means you have more potential to offer additional services, making them a better lifetime value (LTV) client.
Understand also what they want from you. Factors that contribute to their decision to choose one planner or broker over another include your independence, qualifications, experience, how transparent you are and your manner. Addressing these factors by going beyond obviously stating so is key here. You need to understand how your target market thinks, feels and acts and therefore how your marketing affects their behaviour. Not only will this make your marketing more effective, it will reduce wasted efforts and resources on a message that is not targeted.
Focus on existing clients in your target market and review the inquiries you’ve received from them. You will begin to spot trends in their pain points and collect some of their most frequently asked questions. Reading through posts on forums, comment sections, reviews and social media will also help you understand the language your market uses and determine their greatest concerns. Organise your research into common themes so you can identify the gaps and shortcomings of your current financial services offering.
Diversify your client portfolio
Financial planners advise their clients against putting all their eggs in one basket, and the same rule applies to your marketing. Avoid relying on one flow of leads by making multi-channel investments. This ensures that if one channel breaks down, for example Google AdWords changes its algorithm and you’re not prepared, you will still have a consistent flow of business.
The easiest way is to start with one channel – whether that’s SEO, Google AdWords, Facebook adverts, Instagram ads, YouTube, LinkedIn etc – and once you establish an offer with a profitable conversion, calculate the cost per lead (CPL) and cost per acquisition (CPA) of securing a new client on this channel.
Aim to add as many channels as possible, but ensure the first one is reliably drawing incoming leads before you add another. Once you hit 50 per cent ROI from a channel, use the profits to begin a new channel, and repeat. Having at least three channels firing gives you a secure foundation.
Educate the market
One simple way to support a client’s transition from ‘potential’ to ‘buying mode’ is to become a valuable source of information. This is a good way to build your trustworthiness without directly marketing yourself as such. Free guides or reports, webinars, seminars, blog posts, podcasts and/or videos with compelling, informative and relevant content are a good way to open the door for your ideal clients.
Use these education pieces to be genuinely helpful and it will build you a sales funnel that nurtures leads. For example, if you wanted to attract that SMSF client, you might offer an e-book on ‘The 8 Things Financial Planners Don’t Tell You About Self-Managed Super’. Those who download that e-book have self-selected as potential clients and if they like what they read, which demonstrates your expertise and your approach, you will be the first in line for their business when they are ready for those financial services.
Educate yourself to make better decisions
Understand the metrics behind the various marketing channels you’re using, in particular the difference between CPL, CPA and LTV. When business owners make calculations based on the wrong metrics, that obscures what is working and what is not, and hinders your decision-making.
Armed with these numbers, take a good hard look at your current marketing activity. If you only focus on your existing customers and repeat business, you put yourself in a risky position, and as part of the finance industry you know you need to manage your risk. You can never rely on 100 per cent of your clients returning, so be prepared to invest in your sales funnel using a clever, measurable marketing strategy.
Sabri Suby is the founder and head of growth at digital marketing agency King Kong.
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